Long, tiring, but very rewarding… That was National Mistletoe Day 2007, Saturday December 1st. All of this year’s Mistletoe Festival activities were crammed into the one day, so there was quite a lot on…
We started in Gloucestershire, worrying about the forecast rain, and dashing off to get some mistletoe for the Druids. They were due to do a ceremony later, using mistletoe that hadn’t touched the ground, so I cropped some from an orchard in Haresfield (the one where the balloon landed – see previous blogs), so that I could be sure of its status.
Then off to Tenbury – a 75 minute journey with lots to do when we get there. Starting with decorating the town with mistletoe… I had dropped off two crates of mistletoe at the Tenbury Tourist Office yesterday afternoon – and this was due to be carried round to all the shops, so each could have mistletoe hanging outside. We were behind schedule, so this was a tall order, but most shops were visited, and all but one (Scrooge the jeweller) were happy to participate.
I was on Stewarding duty – so should have been helping the street entertainment, but soon realised, as several costumed stilt-walkers passed us on our mistletoe deliveries, that the street entertainment was already well underway, with or without my help….
Though a dull morning, the rain held off, and stilt walking ‘Christmas Trees’ and ‘Camels’ (a pantomime horse on stilts!) livened the place up very quickly. Round the back of the Royal Oak there were Mummers Plays, Period Music, and most importantly for us, COFFEE.
But I’ve missed a bit… The Crowning of The Queen! This was at about 11.15, before the mummers etc started. Our Mistletoe Queen and attendant (Tenbury High School Head Girl and Deputy HG) arrived by Rolls Royce, looking a bit cold, and hung around waiting for Queen Victoria (who is, as I’m sure you know, a time-traveller [probably due to that meeting with Dr Who in the mistletoe v werewolf episode]).
Soon afterwards Queen V turns up and regales the crowd with how happy she is returning to her ‘town in the orchard’ , which she first visited in 1833 when she was a 14-year-old Princess. She took tea at The Bridge Hotel. Very convincing patter, you’d never guess that Alec Wall and I had to jog her memory on these points only the day before (using telephonic communication equipment, amazing what these Victorians can do).
Mtoe Queen (Sally Neath) is invited on stage (yes we do have a stage, in the street) and duly crowned, with an enormous mistletoe crown. Her deputy, Kirsty Davies, gets a smaller one, and Head and Deputy Head Boys Ben Blackmore and Tim Goom stand around in uniform, looking slightly embarrassed.
All good stuff, with lots of press pictures. And our new Queen will return later for the lights… Meanwhile Victoria and her lady-in waiting tour the streets of Tenbury, in character, with Vic clutching a guide to Osbourne House, IoW- I know she likes it there, but not sure why she needs it here, maybe she’s thinking of building something similar? Now that would definitely put Tenbury on the map – the shade of Victoria builds a mansion….
But it’s time to prepare for the Druids… and I’ll report on that in the next entry, this is already too long.